Justin De Witt Bowersock – Congressman

Justin De Witt Bowersock

Justin De Witt Bowersock

Justin De Witt Bowersock was a U.S. Congressman and businessman from Lawrence, Kansas.

Bowersock was born in Columbiana, Ohio, on September 19, 1842. He was educated in public schools, after which he went to Iowa City, Iowa, where he engaged in business as a grain merchant. In 1877, he moved to Lawrence, Kansas, where he saw water power possibilities. He built a dam across the Kansas River and established several manufacturing plants with the power thus developed. He was later made president of the Kansas Water Power Company, organized the Douglas County Bank (later the Lawrence National) in 1878, and was elected president in 1888. He was also president of the Bowersock Mills & Power Company, the Kansas Water Power Company, the Griffin Ice Company, the Lawrence Iron Works, the Lawrence Paper Manufacturing Company, and the Kansas & Colorado Railroad Company.

He always took an active part in municipal affairs and, in 1881, was elected mayor of Lawrence, which position he filled until 1885. On September 5, 1886, he married Mary C. Cower of Iowa City, Iowa, and the same year, was elected to the Kansas House of Representatives. In 1894, he was elected to the State Senate. In 1898, he was nominated by the Republican Party of the Second District for Congress, and in November was elected. His record during his term commended him to the people of his district, who honored him with four re-elections. He was not a candidate for re-nomination in 1906 and returned to his banking and manufacturing business in Lawrence.

He died on October 27, 1922, and was interred in Oak Hill Cemetery in Lawrence.


Compiled and edited by Kathy Alexander/Legends of Kansas, updated September 2023.

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Blackmar, Frank W.; Kansas: A Cyclopedia of State History, Vol I; Standard Publishing Company, Chicago, IL 1912.